Marshall County Health Board Tables Decision on Tobacco Free Funds

June 23, 2010


Lack of information and the timelessness of report that was received on June 22 by the Marshall County Health Board concerning the use of funds targeting towards smoking issues led to an hour-long discussion at a regularly scheduled board meeting with no resolution.

Tobacco Free Marshall County submitted a request for additional funding for programs already in place, while, at the same time, Fitness Forum Sports and Wellness was seeking a portion of the same funds.

According to minutes from the last meeting of the Health Board, representatives of Tobacco Free Marshal County were asked for an itemized accounting of grant funds and programs already disbursed. Referring to only receiving the information from the Tobacco Free group on the same day as the meeting, board member Dr. Greg Miller said, “We are the stewards of that money.” Miller said that getting the information at the meeting, and not prior to, did not give enough time for review.

When Tobacco Free was granted $49,000 over a two-year period a year ago, it was with the stipulation that the organization give an accounting of the programs, successes, and other data before the remaining grant money would be extended. No one from Tobacco Free Marshall County was present at the meeting on Tuesday night.

However, Mary Labuzienski of Fitness Forum Sports and Wellness did appear before the board seeking $10,000 to be used to continue smoking cessation classes that she has been holding for the last year-and-a-half.  According to Labuzienski, Tobacco Free Marshall County contracted with FItness Forum Sports and Wellness to hold the classes. Due to what Labuzienski termed “poor communication”, there was a large demand for the services and some $9,000 worth of invoices and services remains unpaid. She did indicate that an extra class was held and she was unsure of how Tobacco Free had intended to cover the expenses.

Included in the proposal from Labuzienski to the Health Board was the following: “The tobacco class would teach about the process of tobacco addiction, look at the negative health and social consequences and provide information on the cessation process and resources available within the community to support a quit effort.”

It was noted during the board meeting, the Tobacco Free is actually some $12,700 over budget at this time.

On behalf of Fitness Forum Sports and Wellness, Labuzienski was seeking funding directly to the organization she represents in order to continue the classes. She said in a year-and-a half, they have offered services to 155 participants with a success rate of 48 percent. She said there were some enrollees who were required to attend the classes from industries or educational entities that were “unfit” for the program.

Labuzienski would like to see participants pay approximately one-third or $49-50 of the $149.00 fee for the eight week program. She said there is a scholarship fund in place for those who are unable to pay a participant portion. An added bonus of enrolling in the classes at the Fitness Forum Sports and Wellness facility is a two-month enrollment in the fitness center.

After the discussion, the matter was tabled until the next meeting of the Health Board of September 21.

In other matters, the board did grant a variance to Doug and Jan Reed for a septic system on their property at Lake Latonka. Reed provided information on what he termed a “drip-system” that is allowable by the state. The Reeds will be required to have a maintenance program in place as well as have land available to put in a replacement drain field if the first one was to fail. An additional stipulation is that only a one-bedroom home may be built. Miller questioned why there is only a stipulation by the state and county for the number of bedrooms and not the number of occupants and bathrooms. Wes Burden, Marshall County Health Department, indicated that the requirement does not take anything but the number of bedrooms into account.